View Full Version : Leather wheel on an 8" bench grinder, or use a dremel, or a strop...?

Matt NQ
23rd Jan 2018, 07:53 PM
Hi all, thanks again for the help last week with my lathe issues. Ended up visiting Old Croc and mightily enjoyed a couple of hours in the woodturning & machining theme park he calls his shed - thanks Richard :)

I'm about to (I think) pull the trigger on my sharpening solution - the 8" Sherwood 550W bench grinder with 40mm wide alox wheel at Timbecon:


Also planning to get Timbecon's Universal Tool Rest and Turning Tool Jig with it - has anyone used them?

The one thing this seems to leave me without, compared to the more expensive wet stone grinders, is a leather honing wheel - particularly a profiled one for taking the burr off the inside of sharpened gouges.

Firstly, I'm wondering if I could take the grey wheel off the Sherwood 8" grinder and replace it with this leather wheel Timbecon sells. They call it 10" but I think they probably mean it's for a 10" grinder, not that the leather wheel is itself 10" (these profiled leather wheels generally seem to be small):


Or could I just get a tiny Dremel leather wheel on Ebay (there's lots of them) and hone the burr off the gouges with a Dremel - would that work?

Or could I glue together a couple of bits of an old leather belt, round the edge and use as a strop for inside the gouges. Or perhaps glue some leather to a narrow rounded stick. How long would it take to de-burr a gouge that elbow grease way?

Thanks in advance for any answers! :U

Sawdust Maker
23rd Jan 2018, 08:24 PM
can't help with any of those questions, though have heard of people making a wheel out of MDF and profiling that and using as a strop with honing compound

23rd Jan 2018, 09:46 PM
Personally I think honing wood turning tools to that level is complete waste of time

23rd Jan 2018, 10:09 PM
No direct experience with strops on high speed grinders, but those things generally run around 1400 or 2800 RPM and the typical low speed wet grinder runs around 100-120 RPM. So you potentially would be running 10 to 15 times faster with the HS grinder, and will build up heat etc way faster. A Dremel style option would typically run at 5000 RPM min but with a much smaller wheel, but would still have too much surface speed to my mind. Maybe a wheel for a Dremel style machine powered by a battery drill might be a better match overall. Thinking along the lines of a 14-18V 2 speed drill, running at full bore on lower geared speed, around 700-900 RPM.

Matt NQ
23rd Jan 2018, 11:00 PM
Thanks for answers guys. I think I may have found a different kind of answer - a nylon buffing wheel on ebay (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/8-200mmX25mmT-X16mm-Non-woven-nylon-buffing-wheel-for-polishing-stainless-steel/271550160533?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908110712%26meid%3D779d56dde280432786e959ed548193d0%26pid%3D100677%26rk%3D14%26rkt%3D18%26sd%3D271552906224&_trksid=p2385738.c100677.m4598) that looks the right size and designed for exactly this purpose. Has anyone used one of these?

24th Jan 2018, 03:36 AM

Don't rush out and buy something you think you need. I use a jig for my bowl gouges and do not hone until I am down to the final cuts. I then sharpen with the jig, and hone the inside of the gouge with a piece of used rolled up 320 grit sand paper. 3 - 5 strokes & done. The somewhat loosely rolled sandpaper conforms to the U or V shape of the gouge and takes off the tiny burr left by the 220 grit Aluminum Oxide grind stone.

For honing my scrapers and skews, a piece of 220 or 320 used sandpaper laid flat on the lathe bed and 3 - 5 strokes takes off the burr.

Until the last few cuts on anything, honing is a waste of effort. The burr is removed from the tool in 15 seconds of cutting.

For final finishing cuts with a scraper in the trailing position, same as a negative rake scraper, having a burr or having honed off the burr is a matter of 6 of one or a half dozen of the other. Sometimes with burr is better, sometimes without is better. Depends on the phase of the moon, whether you had coffee or tea with breakfast, temperature, humidity, timber, etc.

I grind my scrapers upside down freehand held on the flat plate in front of the wheel, which raises a nice burr, This gets worn off quickly, so no point of honing. I mostly do the last few cuts with the burr on, taking very, very light cuts in the trailing position. This takes off the finest wisps of timber. Sometimes this will cause tear out on soft funny grain, so I will hone and try that. Sometimes nothing will do but sand, apply Tung oil and put pressure on the pad while the lathe is running, let dry overnight, wet sand with tung oil and 320 grit, follow with Tung oil on pad, dry overnight, repeat until satisfied.

One really needs to turn with what is at hand and take to completion and finish. After you have made 10 or so pieces, you will have some idea of what works and what is a waste of time, and what you really need to do the job. After about 20 - 30 hours of doing completed pieces you might carry a piece of dry timber to the lathe and 2 - 3 hours later have a completed piece with first coat of finish.

The 8" Sherwood 550W bench grinder looks good from this distance. I can think of many things to do with $70 other than a leather honing wheel.

I have a Tormek with leather wheel, jigs, etc., etc., and use a 1725 rpm dry grinder and 220 grit wheel for almost everything. I bought the like new used Tormek in a weak moment with a pile of accessories for $500. It is marvelous for sharpening plane irons, knives, scissors.

There are raging discussions on this site about sharpening, do a search. The above is what works for me.

Matt NQ
24th Jan 2018, 10:03 AM
Paul thanks so much for that very practical - and money saving! - advice. I'll keep the $70 in my pocket! :U

24th Jan 2018, 11:21 AM
Personally I think honing wood turning tools to that level is complete waste of time

I agree, it is a waste of time to hone woodturning chisels.

24th Jan 2018, 10:47 PM
The nylon wheel you linked to is 80grit, so hardly in the honing or stropping class. They are used for creating a coarse linear brushed design on metal surfaces, but that one equates as coarser than a green Scotchbright kitchen scourer, and would most likely give you a finely serrated edge to your tool as you clean up the edge. This type of material is available in a variety of grades, I believe to around 320grit or finer and can be bought as wheels, belts, or sheet pads for hand use, but I still don't think it is viable for honing.

Matt NQ
25th Jan 2018, 09:57 AM
Thanks for correcting my perception on the nylon wheel malb. I think I'll go with Paul's money-saving suggestion to just use fine sandpaper.